Mavericks’ Dorian Finney-Smith Forges Own Path to Find Footing for His Family
LOS ANGELES -- It’s late October and the Dallas Mavericks are already into their fourth road trip of the season. The 2018-19 NBA season is in full swing, but even on an off-day in Los Angeles, small forward Dorian Finney-Smith stays on his grind—and not just on the basketball court.
In between phone calls and rounds of NBA 2K with teammate Dennis Smith Jr., Doe—as he’s known among family, friends and the Mavs—takes time to talk about his new business venture as a strategic partner and shareholder in Boston-based compression sock company Orfiks.
“My agent told me about it,” Doe tells CloseUp360 at The Ritz-Carlton in downtown LA. “He told about the guys who were investing in it, and it sounded like a great opportunity for me.”
Doe, who's one of the Mavs' best contributors off the bench, has been fortunate to not suffer any serious foot injuries and he plans to keep it that way with Orfiks. The socks—worn by NFL and MLB players, PGA golfers and professional squash players—boast a “Tri-Tech” design. It features moisture wicking technology, true-fit sizing and a balance of compression in all the necessary areas.
“As long as I've been wearing and working out in the socks, my feet have been feeling really good,” Doe says. “Playing basketball, your feet are probably one of the most important things. If your feet feel good, you perform good.”
Dorian Finney-Smith at The Ritz-Carlton in downtown Los Angeles. (Amir Ebrahimi)
So what exactly do the socks do?
They function as a passive recovery mechanism, improving blood flow and circulation. Designed with thick material around certain areas of the foot, Orfiks socks use compression around the midsole and crown of the foot to alleviate any swelling and push de-oxygenated blood back to the heart.
In other words, after Doe is on his feet all game long, he’ll put on Orfiks knowing that they help prevent blood from pooling or clotting in his feet, ankles or even up into his calf. The tightness of the compression pushes blood in the opposite direction of the areas where the socks hug the feet and lower legs.
Also during practices and workouts, when Doe has the freedom to wear what he wants on his feet, he can enjoy those same benefits as he pleases.
"My feet are always burning when I'm wearing shoes, and I don't feel that when I'm wearing these socks,” he says. "I always wear sandals, flip flops or whatever, and when you see me walking around, I have on Orfiks socks. I work out in them, walk around the house in them. I love the way they feel on my feet.”
Orfiks socks. (Courtesy of Orfiks)
So far, Doe is the only NBA player to partner with Orfiks, though he hopes to get some other denizens of Big D on board.
“I have teammates like Dirk [Nowitzki] and Devin Harris who have foot issues, and a lot of guys have foot issues in the NBA, being tall and stuff like that," Doe says. "I feel like having comfortable socks that, if you just try them on, you'll know what I'm talking about.”
While working towards a major role on a contending team, Doe is not in a position just yet to bank on big-money deals, be they to play basketball for the Mavs or wear shoes for a major brand. The upshot of his situation, at least as far as footwear is concerned, is that he’s free to explore other opportunities—and find socks that fit his feet more comfortably.
“My feet are sliding [in the shoe] when I wear Nike's socks,” says Doe, who wore the Swoosh during his days at the University of Florida. “I used to wear two pairs of socks, but I had to stop doing that because I don't like my feet feeling real tight.”
Doe’s business interests extend beyond just socks. He has his own LLC back in Dallas that deals with construction and real estate.
But he won’t turn his attention fully back to his off-the-court pursuits until after the season. For now, he has plenty to occupy his time and his mind, between his key role in the Mavericks’ rotation and tending to his eight-year-old daughter, Sinai, and two-year-old son, Dorian Jr. Though he’s only 25 years old in his third season, Doe is already thinking about life after his playing days.
“I just want to leave a legacy [for my kids],” he says. “Basketball is eventually going to end. Hopefully if I do the right thing with my mind and my money then I could be good forever.”
Doe: "I just want to leave a [legacy for my kids]." (Amir Ebrahimi)
Doe’s personal life brought him into maturity at a young age. The Portsmouth, Virginia native was 15 when his older brother, Ra-Shawn Finney, was shot and killed before his own eyes. And Doe was 16 when he became a father for the first time.
“She's the reason why I'm so mature for my age. I had her young,” he says. “Seeing her, I know I want to be the better version of me for her. I feel like I can't do no wrong to her. I just want her to see what a man looks like, so I try to do my best to do that.”
Doe credits his kids as the motivation for getting involved in businesses outside of basketball. He aims to set an example for them with the choices he makes on and off the court. He even prides himself in graduating from college—an anomaly among most current NBA players who left campus early.
“I feel like you gotta be smart,” he says. “I can't tell them to go to school if I didn't graduate.”
But Doe’s time in Gainesville did more than put him in a position to teach his children well. His degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences also taught him the importance of planning for the future. That’s especially important now that he’s in an environment where money can come and go seemingly in the time it takes to unfurl a jump shot.
“It's hard to really talk about investing to younger guys,” he says. “Ain't nobody thinking about investing, especially if I came into the NBA at 19. I wouldn't be thinking about investing. I went through college. I did four, five years in college, so I learned a lot more than I'd say nowadays the regular young guy in the NBA.”
At 25, Doe is already preparing for life after basketball, with business interests in socks, construction and real estate. (Amir Ebrahimi)
Despite the disparity in the depth between Doe’s pockets and those of his peers, and the mouths he has to feed back home, he still finds ways to give back. Through his foundation, Finney Family First, he, his mother, Desiree Finney, one of his brothers and his cousin have delivered book bags, food and other donations to the less fortunate in their hometown.
“It's high crime, so people that we know, we try to help out families and stuff like that,” Doe says. “We just do what we can. You know, I ain't making that much money, but I do what I can.”
Though Doe’s kids do plenty to keep him going nowadays, he points to his mom as the original inspiration behind his drive to succeed. Despite raising six kids, all of whom were involved in sports, she never missed a game.
“You never knew when she was tired,” Doe says. “I remember having early baseball games and my mama would just be in the car sick, but she still made sure she came to the game. She never made no excuse. I've always felt I can't make no excuse.”
Doe’s dedication to his craft and his businesses has put him in position to help ease his mom’s burden. Not that she would oblige. Without her kids around to cheer on, Desiree has channeled her enthusiasm as a parent into her work at Church’s Chicken.
“She's the loudest person in the gym. You go in her job, she's the loudest person at her job," he says. "She's only there three times a week, but she's in there telling everybody what to do.”
Desiree was there by Doe’s side when he sat down with an Orfiks executive over dinner at Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse in Dallas. But rather than steering the conversation, she and her son simply listened to the pitch—one that Doe hopes will help his kids build on what he’s been able to create for them so far.
“I'm just trying to set them up nice,” Doe says. “Just trying to give them the tools, trying to prepare them for what's coming.”